This letter is from the Platoon Commander to the parents of the young Marines serving in 1st Platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion,7th Marines, in Afghanistan in the Summer of 2008. The Platoon Commander is a friend of my daughter's - an exceptional young man we met at a homeschool conference in 2000 and got to know over the next couple of years.
He asked some friends to share this account of what happened in the Gullistan Valley, both to honor his Platoon and to encourage us that the war is not everything you hear on the news.
Here is just a fragment of what he wrote:
EpilogueWell done, Marines. Semper Fi.
As of July 2010, the US Marines have relinquished control of the Gulistan Valley to NATO Forces. Following 1st Platoon’s presence in the summer of 2008, enemy resistance slowly dwindled over the next two years and the villagers still talk about how “The first Marines who came, drove out the Taliban and they never returned.” The District Government is now fully operational and the Afghan National Police are a capable and competent para-military force in control of the valley.
Every Marine who passed into the valley in May left in December, alive. Nearly half were decorated for valor. In all, one Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, and numerous Commendation and Achievement Medals for Valor were awarded. Dozens of other acts of bravery will only ever be remembered by those who witnessed them personally. Most importantly, the relationships forged with the local Afghans served to drive a wedge between the Taliban and the people, and the children of the valley will grow up with brighter prospects than their parents. Thus is the legacy of the men of 1st Platoon, Golf Company, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, and their commitment to an obscure mountain valley in the summer of 2008.